about the Works
Third Hand Works. Like an ironworks. A smithy. A place where we roll up our sleeves and do the dirty, sweaty work of making beautiful things with our hands.
Only instead of shaping metal, clay, glass or other media, we work in the less tangible medium of Time.
Third Hand Works. As in: a helping hand. Instruction. A place to learn the techniques of forming Time into supportive containers and frameworks.
Third Hand Works is an atelier, a studio school – a place where we study the theory and practice of shaping and moving through Time.
As with any art form, a craftsperson needs to develop two things: a creative vision and the skills to make that vision a reality.
You already have a magnificent vision of what you want to do with your time. Here at the Atelier, you can develop the technical facility to make those things happen.
It starts with the basics.
Just as it’s easier to realize the image in your mind’s eye when you come to your canvas already knowing something about paint and brushes – it’s easier to organize your time and activities if you understand the basics.
- inherent qualities and fundamental properties
As with any medium, you need to know what Time can and cannot be made to do.
- design elements and principles
Creating forms – like calendars and other systems – that function as you intend also requires familiarity with the fundamentals of composition.
- tools and techniques
Neither can you shape Time into functional forms without the right tools for the job and the skills to use them.
- personal and cultural history
Understanding the origins of your current shape of Time is key to inventing new forms.
With such a foundation in place, you can shape Time, craft environments and design systems that are perfect expressions of who you are and what you want to do.
You can create the conditions in which you are efficient and effective. Conditions in which you have enough of the right things rather than too many of the wrong things. Conditions that are as comfortable as your favorite clothes and as deeply satisfying as an exquisitely prepared meal. Conditions that bring out your best. Conditions in which you thrive.
This Atelier is the result of what I’ve learned from providing administrative support to creatives over the past twenty-plus years.
From the art gallery to the architectural practice, I saw the ways traditional work structures frequently failed to support the creative process. And once I became a solopreneur, offering virtual assistance to other self-employed creatives, the damage became painfully obvious.
Every creative I worked or talked with had the same adversarial relationship with Time and the administrative side of their businesses. Everyone was struggling to do what needed doing (myself included). Worse was everyone’s sense of defeat, shame and brokenness around organization.
And that got to me. No one should remain a “starving artist,” no one’s most important creative work should go unrealized – and no one should be that miserable – because they lack right-brain models for organization and time management. And so a mission was born.
Here at the Works, my Blues-Brothers-Mission-from-God is this: discovering and sharing ways to shape Time, craft environments, and design systems that make it easy, enjoyable and profitable for creatives like you to make whatever you feel called to bring into the world. And not just for your sake. I believe the world deeply needs what you have to offer. And there’s no reason the shortcomings of the average file cabinet or day planner should stand between you and your mission.
No one knows what’s best for you better than you. Not me. Not any other so-called expert. Break the rules.
We are each responsible for our own experience. And we generally have far more power to shape that experience than we assume.
Less is more. Learning to choose is what leads to deep satisfaction.
We are whole.
Our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves are all connected and all matter equally – and all play a role in the skillful shaping of Time.
You are not broken in need of fixing (or lazy in need of butt-kicking). “Productivity” is the result of knowing and loving yourself deeply.
Hard is not a four letter word.
We don’t have to be people we’re not. However, growth requires us to do things differently. And that requires a willingness to be uncomfortable on occasion. The right challenges are welcome because they are necessary.
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Readiness is the key to success. How you begin matters. So does how you end. Graceful exits make for graceful entrances.
Admin isn’t grunt work.
Routine maintenance is the breath and heartbeat of the organism that is your business and your life. Without it, nothing else is sustainable.
It’s faster to slow down.
Again, less is more. Speed is the result of singular focus. Rushing about just results in fragmentation and too many messes to clean up.
You don’t need to be so serious to be taking things seriously.
You don’t need to finish an endless list of chores before you can go to the ball. The ball is happening all the time. You are allowed to have fun.
And always keep it simple, sweethearts.
a tour of the virtual Works campus
my personal studio
This is the space where I shape vessels from my drafts and sketches, observations and experiments with Time. It where I craft containers for learning and physical containers that hold actual things. This is my favorite place to be and where I spend most of my days.
This nook is where I answer the mail, balance the accounts, coordinate with the people who help me maintain the Works, and other administrative whatnot. Because of the unusual nature of this Atelier, the work that happens in the Office often finds its way into the studios and other public spaces.
This is the large, open virtual workroom where I help individuals and groups put what they are learning into practice. In the Studio, it’s not about theory – it’s all about application. It’s a space where we get messy shaping Time.
ways to connect and participate
chat with me in the hallways
- blog | twitter | facebook | These are the pin-up walls and bulletin boards that line the hallways of the Atelier. Get a peak into my sketchbook, check out the latest announcements, answer the Question of the Day, leave a comment, or just hang out.
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I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. Toys? Nowhere near as much fun as markers and crafty kits.
I’ve also been organizing things for as long as I can remember. I don’t know how my grandmother’s small secretary desk ended up in my childhood room, but I do know I loved all those cubbyholes. A place for everything and everything in its place! And in those places? Art supplies.
And I’ve known for almost as long that making things and organizing things aren’t two different activities.
I also love to hang out with other people who like to make things. And I love to show people how to make things. (Thanks Mrs. Blue for inspiring me to teach since age seven.)
I love science as much as I love art – and the intersection of the two. Growing up, when I wasn’t crushing on Jim Henson and his Muppets, I was crushing on Carl Sagan and his meelions and beelions of stars. I geek out listening to theoretical physicists explain how our universe works. Throw in a neuroscientist discussing our perception of Time, and I’m completely blissed out.
I’ve always loved a good mystery. Encyclopedia Brown, Dorothy Sayers, Perry Mason, and pretty much anything produced for Masterpiece Mystery. That’s all about organization too. As P.D. James once said: bringing order out of disorder is what the mystery is all about.
In my youth, I was surrounded by pioneers, inventors and runaways (in many ways, an unavoidable part of growing up in Alaska.) I was lucky to have been part of many alternative learning communities. From a “gifted” program, I discovered the fun and engagement of a proper challenge – which was never found in a book. From an open-program high school I learned self-direction, bottom-up organization and the role of emotion in learning. From a Quaker college I learned to question authority, reach consensus and the power of starting everything with a long moment of silence.
It was at that college that I discovered my first true art love: ceramics – studies I continued at the Oregon College of Art and Craft (in my head, this Atelier looks a lot like that campus, which I adored). I’ve had a love affair with crafting containers from various media ever since.
I still live in Portland, Oregon with my husband and my dog. When I’m not spreading my message of time sculpting and administrative reconciliation to the creative masses, you might find me at roller derby, trivia night at my local pub, perfecting allergen-free recipes, or – well, making something.
P.S. If you’re wondering about the correct pronunciation of my name, it’s kay-reen (long ‘a’ sound, long ‘e’ sound). Think of it as somewhere between caring and careening down a mountain.